Viewing cable 06KIRKUK103, KIRKUK PROVINCIAL COUNCIL MEMBERS BOYCOTT
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHMOS
DE RUEHKUK #0103/01 1191102
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P R 291102Z APR 06
FM REO KIRKUK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0642
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0604
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHKUK/REO KIRKUK 0670
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIRKUK 000103
BAGHDAD FOR POL, PAO, ROL COORDINATOR, NCT, IRMO
E.O. 12958: DECL: 4/29/2016
TAGS: PGOV KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: KIRKUK PROVINCIAL COUNCIL MEMBERS BOYCOTT
REF: 05 KIRKUK 171
KIRKUK 00000103 001.2 OF 002
CLASSIFIED BY: Scott Dean, Regional Coordinator (Acting), Reo
Kirkuk, Department of State .
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Arab council members boycott and Turcoman
council members threaten to boycott the Kirkuk Provincial
Council if the Kurdish bloc does not meet their demands.
¶2. (SBU) On April 18, Turcoman and Arab council members
finally submitted candidates for provincial council leadership
positions left vacant since the August 8, 2005 agreement
(REFTEL). After eight months, they decided that an Arab would
fill the deputy governor position, while the Turcoman would
receive the remaining four posts.
¶3. (SBU) Arab and Turcoman representatives on April 20 sent
letters to the Provincial Council chairman, demanding that their
candidates be ratified and that the remaining points of the
August 8 agreement be implemented within three days or they
would boycott. The PC Chairman took offense to this action, and
as a result, all ethnic blocs are resorting to contrary
positions, with the Arabs boycotting and the Turcoman
threatening non-participation if demands are not met.
¶4. (SBU) The PC Chairman was frustrated that it took the two
minority blocs eight months to come to an agreement and suddenly
were giving him 72 hours to respond. He argued that the
original agreement had expired and that not all Turcoman members
had agreed on the new compromise. (NOTE. The agreement did
call for candidates to be named by September 2005. We have
heard conflicting reports that either five or seven of the nine
Turcoman members agreed to the plan. END NOTE.) The PC
Chairman called for special meetings to discuss the Arab and
Turcoman demands on April 21 and again on April 23, with the USG
participating as observers. He has threatened to withhold
council members' privileges including pay, office space, and
security if they continued to boycott.
¶5. (SBU) On April 18, Arab members sent a letter to the PC
Chairman with a list of demands, notifying the council of a
boycott that became effective immediately. The demands stemmed
from the August 2005 agreement concerning the leadership
positions, but also enumerated several complaints, including
hiring practices in Kirkuk, the Kurdification of the province,
and the existence of Kurdish intelligence and militias that
continue to target the Arab population. The Arab bloc agreed to
attend the meetings to discuss these complaints, but failed to
show on both occasions.
¶6. (SBU) The Turcoman delivered a letter to the PC Council
Chairman with similar demands as the Arabs. The Turcoman
attended the first meeting to discuss their demands, but failed
to accomplish much because the discussion devolved into an
argument with the Kurdish bloc about whether their "suspension"
or boycott was already effective, or if it would only come into
effect if demands were not met. The Turcoman failed to attend
the second meeting, sending a last minute note that stated they
would be celebrating a Turcoman political holiday instead. The
Turcoman bloc is not unified on the agreement concerning the
leadership positions or the boycott and several members continue
to work on daily council business.
¶8. (C) The Arab and Turcoman groups are aggravated at Kurdish
dominance of provincial leadership. Their moves to boycott or
threaten to boycott when they feel they are not being heard has
been an effective tool in the past for garnering U.S.
intervention on their behalf. The Kurds are accommodative to a
point and are able to play politics more effectively by seeming
to be the only group willing to negotiate.
Background note on provincial council
KIRKUK 00000103 002.2 OF 002
¶9. (C) The Kirkuk provincial council consists of 41 members
and is dominated by the Kirkuk Brotherhood List (KBL), which
holds 26 seats. The KBL is Kurd-dominated, with PUK and KDP
members controlling the agenda. The KBL also has 3 Arabs, 2
Turcoman, and 1 Assyrian member: but these members are
marginalized, always vote with the list, and often are
considered "quislings" for working so closely with the Kurds.
Rizgar Ali (PUK Kurd) is the PC Chairman and effectively leads
the KBL. The list holds an outright majority and has the
ability to conduct council business without the other blocs.
Thus far, however, the KBL has attempted to remain inclusive and
has allowed the ethnic minority groups to participate, due to
its own practical reasons, as well as coalition pressure to
retain ethnic cooperation.
¶10. (C) Due to lack of participation in the last elections,
the Arab bloc consists of six members derived from two political
parties and two tribal groups. Arab bloc members often state
that Arabs form a majority of the population in Kirkuk province,
and their demands reflect that mindset. The Arab members
interest in local government is generally limited to their
desire to receive funding to be spent at their discretion. Less
than half the bloc is actively engaged in provincial council
¶11. (C) The Turcoman group consists of nine members that are
separated into many different political parties. The most
defined subgroup consists of the Shia and Sunni groups, the
latter being dominated by the Iraqi Turcoman Front (ITF).